I’m here to drop a little wisdom on you. And as tempted as I am to sit on a chair backwards and say “let’s rap”—I know better. The “after-school special” approach won’t work on you. You’re too stubborn to be preached to, and you’re just clever enough to always find a reason to ignore good advice.
So instead I’m going to be blunt, and tell you something you can’t rationalize away.
High school ends.
I know what you’re thinking. First, you’re relieved to hear you’ll pass latin class. Second, you’re thinking, “No kidding.”
Of course high school ends. You can’t wait. You hate structure, you hate homework, and you especially hate asking a teacher’s permission to go to the bathroom. (Which you should…it’s degrading). So thank god high school ends.
And when it finally happens, that summer will be a celebration. Because while you hate school, you love your friends—and all summer long you guys will be intoxicated by your collective freedom. You’ll feel important everywhere you go. Even your friends’ parents will treat you different—less like a kid. Some will even offer you a beer.
You’re the graduating seniors. This is your town. This is your moment. And you’ll know it.
Then late one night, as the summer is winding down, you and your friends will end up on an empty beach. You and your friends have spent your whole lives with each other. You all know the same people. You all know the same places. And, most importantly, none of you know anything else. Your entire world is right there, sitting in a circle on the sand.
Then a week later, you’ll go away to college. A semester later, you’ll drop out.
You won’t admit it, but it’s a retreat. You weren’t ready to say goodbye and you’ll think that by going back to the same place that you left. But you can’t. Because the people who made that place what it was are now scattered across the country.
So you patiently wait for summer, when everyone—everything—will. And when summer finally comes, it will feel like it does. For a while.
Something’s off—and you won’t know exactly what. Not until one night when you end up sitting on that same beach, with the same people, in that same circle.
You won’t be chatting about preparing for another year of high school or facing the great unknowns of college life. They won’t be unknowns anymore. No. For the first time in your life, you and your friends will be talking about people you’ve never met, and places you’ve never been. You’ll finally have experiences that you haven’t experienced together.
And that’s the moment you finally learn that high school ends. That it’s already ended. That’s when you finally understand that the world is bigger than that circle in the sand.
And it’ll break your heart.
But here’s the good news.
The world is bigger than that circle in the sand. And that is the day you start exploring it.
Your own world will grow. You’ll make new friends from every corner of the globe—friends who live interesting lives and do all sorts of interesting things you never knew that real people actually do.
You’ll learn that while the world may be big, the people in it aren’t. It’s full of people no different than you. With that insight, the unknown stops being intimidating and starts to become exciting. So much becomes possible.
Still, Every once in a while, you go back home. You go back to that same spot on the beach and call those same old friends—now people who’s own paths have taken them to surprising places. You’ll sit around in that same circle, and talk about the times you came here as teenagers.
Because no matter where any of your lives take you, this will always be your hometown, and they will always be the people your childhood friends S.
And you’ll always share that moment—the moment high school ended so the rest of your life could begin.
Dave Cicirelli is the author of Fakebook: A True Story. Based on Actual Lies. A New York-based art director, he works for Mirrorball, an experiential ad agency that creates a fusion of live experience and social media. Fakebook is his first attempt at writing a book, and that’s why there are so many pictures in it. Website: www.fakebookfriends.com